Sometimes, the business world can seem a bit like a schoolyard, where the popular kids get all the attention. Why is it that some companies get featured in magazines, newspapers or TV shows while others, seemingly just as interesting or important, get overlooked? It’s not so mysterious.
B2 or not B2 The first rule to getting featured in the business pages of a daily paper, says Glen Edwards, director of client services and media relations at Karyo Edelman, is understanding what the paper wants. “You’re not selling your company, your product or your service. You’re selling a story,” he says. “If you want specific placement, exclusive mention and guarantee that the right messaging is conveyed,” adds Edwards, “there’s another word to consider: it’s called an ad.” local motion A mention in a weekly community paper is a great way to build media profile and gain public confidence. To get coverage, link your company to issues affecting residents in the community. If you run a life-coaching business and a number of people in the area have been laid off, for example, “pitch a story on how you reframe yourself to get back into the job market,” suggests Dunn. Another tip: know the deadlines. They may be earlier in the week than you suspect. Going glossy Magazines won’t cover what has already been in the papers, nor can they, because of their long editorial lead time (they typically work two months in advance). “They want topical pitches with interesting personalities, histories and controversies attached. Something more in-depth and meatier than daily hard-news coverage,” observes Patricia Dunn, principal of Dunn Public Relations. Most magazines, including BCBusiness, have regular sections that are lighter in tone and widely read; try tailoring a pitch to fit these short, fun slots. Feeling bloggy A mention in a popular blog and your company is bound to move a few notches up the cool-o-meter. So how do you tackle Web 2.0? Karyo Edelman’s Glen Edwards advises sending press releases to industry e-zines. “The viewers are online users and a lot of them are bloggers,” he notes. Fun online games, videos or micro-sites can often go viral, as long as they’re not seen as marketing ploys. As Wil Arndt, president of Mod7 Communications Inc., says: “It’s simple but hard to do. You just have to have great content.” For a perfect example, visit subservientchicken.com to see how Burger King got it right. The BIG O Get on Oprah’s show and you’ve got it made in the shade. To meet the queen of daytime television, Katie Dunsworth, senior PR manager for 1-800-GOT-JUNK, suggests offering your services. “We were able to write into the show and say, ‘If you’re doing an episode on this, we can provide this service, and we’re happy to work for free,’” she explains. Dunsworth herself recently appeared on the show with her Oprah-inspired financial investment club, Smart Cookies. “Talk shows love when you say, ‘Your episode on whatever changed my life,’” she notes.